Friday, March 25, 2011

Sen. Brown Bill to Preserve Music/Sports Halls of Fame

Video Lottery Terminals Would Help

Sen. Robert Brown (D-Macon), will file a bill next week suggesting an alliance between the Georgia Lottery Corporation, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority. The bill will allow video lottery machines in both halls of fame and would increase Lottery revenues, increase revenues for the halls of fame and increase people presence in downtown Macon, where both halls of fame have operated since their inception.

“I see this as a win-win,” Sen. Brown said. “Much controversy has surrounded the Music Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame because they have not been self sufficient financially. After these tremendous structures were built, the attendance did not match projections. Now, the taxpayers are forced to pick up the slack. At the same time, several cities are arguing that they can run the halls better than Macon can. That is simply not true. This bill will correct the problem by bringing people to the halls and providing non-taxpayer funding. Downtown Macon businesses will benefit from the increased people traffic to what will be a unique and fresh entertainment district.”

In the legislation, Sen. Brown outlines a plan where both halls of fame authorities would partner with the Georgia Lottery. Video lottery terminals would be placed inside the halls of fame (blocked off so only adult access would be allowed). Some have suggested the Halls were over built; this plan would provide a way to economize space. The authorities, then, would become lottery retailers, gaining commissions on sales just like any other retailer. The proceeds would help cover operating costs.

“This bill is only the beginning of a plan,” Sen. Brown said. “The legislative session is almost over, so it is too late to see passage this year. However, we can begin discussions and refine the proposal. By next year’s session of the General Assembly, I hope legislators will move forward and execute a plan in a way that will benefit all Georgians.”

A recent decision by the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority keeps it in Macon, despite plans from others Georgia cities to woo the museum. At the end of this month, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority will vote on bids by Macon, Athens, Dunwoody and Woodstock to determine where that museum will call home. In the mean time, local money from Middle Georgia governments is going toward the halls to keep them financially stable. Brown says local taxpayer money should not be used to support a state facility. This bill would provide the needed non-taxpayer revenue stream to ensure the halls a long and prosperous life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hotter Temperatures Mean More Hit Batsmen in Baseball

During spring training, Major League pitchers work on fine-tuning their mechanics and strengthening their legs so they don't break down during the dog days of summer.

It's doubtful these pitchers will give much thought to what the July heat might do to their brains, but perhaps they should.

A new study led by researchers from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business has found pitchers whose teammates get hit by a pitch are more likely to retaliate and plunk an opposing batter when the temperature reaches 90 degrees than when it is cooler. But if no one has been hit in the game, then high temperatures have little effect on a pitcher's behavior.

"We found that heat does not lead to more aggression in general," said Richard Larrick, a management professor at Fuqua. "Instead, heat affects a specific form of aggression. It increases retribution."

Major League statistics show there were 1,549 incidents of hit batsmen last season, an average of .64 hit-by-pitch incidents per game. Most pitchers are not intentionally beaning batters, as a hit batsman automatically proceeds to first base and increases the chances that his team will score, Larrick said. Despite that advantage, pitchers and team managers admit they sometimes target batters on purpose.

"When a batter is hit by the opposing team, his teammates don't know if it was an accident or deliberate," said Larrick, who also holds an appointment in the department of psychology and neuroscience. "We think hotter temperatures make a pitcher more likely to see the action as deliberate and hostile. And once a pitcher feels provoked, hotter temperatures increase feelings of revenge."

The study, which appears in the March 2011 issue of the journal Psychological Science, examined 57,293 Major League Baseball games from 1952 through 2009 -- roughly 4.5 million matchups between a pitcher and a hitter. Temperature was more predictive of struck batsmen if the opposing team's pitcher had already beaned one or more hitters. For example, if temperatures were in the 50s during a game, there was a 22 percent chance a pitcher would hit a batter if a precipitating pitch occurred in the first inning of a game. When temperatures were in the 90s, the retaliation risk rose to 27 percent.

To make sure other factors weren't confounding the link between temperature and hit batsmen, the researchers analyzed variables that might affect a pitcher's performance, including indicators of pitcher inaccuracy such as wild pitches, and other measures such as errors by the team, the year the game was played, where the game was played, inning and score.

"It was important to sort out whether heat tends to increase aggressive behavior, such as retribution, or whether it leads pitchers to be less accurate with their pitches," said Larrick.

Larrick, a longtime St. Louis Cardinals fan, first examined the link between heat and pitcher retaliation as a graduate student, but couldn't amass enough data -- at least not by poring through microfilms. He decided to revisit the question more recently because historical play-by-play game transcripts have been posted online by dedicated baseball fans.

As an expert in behavioral science, Larrick expected to find a connection between heat and aggression. "There are decades of research showing heat leads to aggression, like finding more violent crime in the summer," he said. "But in crime statistics, it's hard to really determine if it's heat or other things. One of the nice things about studying baseball is that we're able to control for factors besides heat."

Larrick said he was surprised that the "a batter for a batter" tradition of retaliation does not always hold. "Baseball fans will tell you the sport's code of honor dictates you're supposed to hit a player on the other team when your player has been hit," he said. "Nobody seems to be aware that players apply the rule much more at high temperatures than at cool temperatures."

Other authors of the study include Andrew Carton of Fuqua; Thomas A. Timmerman, Tennessee Technological University; and Jason Abrevaya, University of Texas.
The research report is available online at:

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fiesta Atlanta Announces 5K Race Benefiting Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- Lanza Group, LLC is announcing the inaugural Fiesta Atlanta 5 Que?, a 5k race/walk to Fiesta Atlanta. Fiesta Atlanta celebrates Cinco de Mayo and Latino culture with a daylong music festival on Sunday, May 1. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has been selected to be the beneficiary of the race.

"Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is a natural beneficiary for the race," says Lanza Group President Ralph E. Herrera. "They serve an overwhelming percentage of Hispanics in Atlanta, and a great way for us to raise awareness and give back to the community at large."

The Fiesta Atlanta 5 Que? race encourages the Hispanic community and all families to participate in healthy, active lifestyles. The 5k race will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 10 a.m. in Centennial Olympic Park, with live music and an awards ceremony. Portions of the proceeds will benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and their mission to helping kids get back to being kids. Please visit our race registration page on to register.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is a not-for-profit pediatric health care system that strives to enhance the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research and education. Offering access to more than 30 pediatric specialties, Children's manages more than half a million patient visits annually at three hospitals and 17 neighborhood locations and is one of the largest clinical care providers for children in the country.

Fiesta Atlanta, the Southeast's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration, is a free, daylong festival that includes a full day of live Latin music on two stages, with national and local recording artists. The children's stage lineup includes lively, colorful acts including Mexican folkloric dancers, clowns, musicians and storytellers. Artists will be selling handmade crafts while vendors will be selling delicious Latin foods.

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